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Series VII. Roy Wood Sellars, 1909-1974

Scope and Content Notes:

Roy Wood Sellars (1880-1973) was the father of Wilfrid Stalker Sellars and a notable American philosopher. This series is divided into six subseries that document various aspects of his personal and professional life. The subseries include biographical information, correspondence files, financial records, handwritten notes, manuscripts, and manuscripts by other authors. While these documents provide some information on his personal life, they concentrate on Roy Wood Sellars' contributions to the philosophical community's professional literature. Covering the topics of naturalistic metaphysics, philosophy of mind, materialism, naturalism, secular humanism, socialism, and relativity, this series contains drafts of published and unpublished articles and books, and handwritten notes relating to the formulation of his philosophical ideologies. These materials are further described in the extensive subseries scope and content notes.

Subseries 1. Personal, 1936-1974

Scope and Content Notes:

This subseries highlights RWS's personal life. The Ferris State College file contains newspaper clippings, a diploma and program from the ceremony in which he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws in 1973. The miscellaneous file contains a program from a church service, as well as membership cards, business cards, and identification cards that were removed from a wallet. This section also contains RWS's voided passports and a vaccination report. Additional items included in this subseries are the financial and legal documents relating to the professional pursuits of Roy Wood Sellars, such as a power of attorney document, which legally designates Wilfrid Sellars as the guardian of RWS's affairs. It also contains publication agreements and royalty statements based on RWS's published works.


Box 189
Folder 1 Honorary degree from Ferris State College, 1973
Folder 2 Miscellaneous, 1965-1972
Folder 3 Obituaries, 1973-1974
Folder 4 Passports and vaccination report, 1936-1970
Folder 5 Copyright certificate, 1968
Folder 6 Power of attorney, 1962
Folder 7 Publication agreements and royalties, 1967-1972

Subseries 2. Correspondence, 1909-1974

Scope and Content Notes:

The correspondence dates from 1909-1973 and is separated into personal and professional. The personal correspondence contains letters and holiday greetings from friends and family. Researchers may find some significance in the correspondence with Gertrude Mary Sellars, as it provides an interesting perspective on her husband, Wilfrid Sellars. The professional correspondence occurs between RWS and other philosophers. It appears as though many of the letters were written in response to inquiries initially made by RWS during the later part of his life. A few of the professional correspondence files contain manuscripts that were initially sent as enclosures. The "compiled letters" file is interesting as it was assembled by W. Preston Warren and sent to Wilfrid Sellars for safe keeping. This file contains photocopied letters sent to RWS from various philosophers between 1910 and 1965. Some of the correspondents include John Dewey, Donald Williams, Wilmon Sheldon, H. Bergson, George Santayana, Mario Lins, Adolf Meyer, and C. A. Strong, among others.

Researchers wishing to view the correspondence between Roy Wood Sellars and his son, Wilfrid Sellars, should consult the professional correspondence located in series four. All but a few of these letters are written by RWS. The letters cover discussions of philosophical ideas, publication notes, and personal business between father and son. An enclosure to a letter dated June 22, 1970, outlines RWS's philosophical autobiography. Other enclosures include articles written by RWS.

Section: Personal

Folder 8 Miscellaneous, 1909-1973
Folder 9 Sellars, Gertrude Mary, 1939-1969
Folder 10 Sellars, Helen Maude, 1909-1939

Section: Professional

Folder 11 Comments on Sellars' writings, 1916-1973
Folder 12 Complied letters, 1910-1972
Folder 13 Miscellaneous, 1919-1973
Folder 14-16 Publishers/Editors, 1966-1974
Folder 17 Speaking engagements, 1965-1973

Box 190
Folder 1 Warren, W. Preston, 1966-1973

Subseries 3. Handwritten Notes, undated

Scope and Content Notes:

This subseries contains seven notebooks and a file of compiled notes that were originally dispersed throughout the collection. Written by RWS, these notes express his thoughts in varying depths on topics such as biographical remarks, personal notes, and philosophical musings. The loose handwritten notes contain fragments of ideas and notes in outline form, while the notebooks highlight a broader range of ideas. The first notebook examines relative motion, realism, and secular humanism. The second notebook mainly deals with causality, determinism, notes from "Soviet Studies in Philosophy," and religion. The third contains thoughts on relativity, American global policy, economics, and Marx. The fourth examines the thoughts of other philosophers' (including, Toynbee, Sartre, Bernstein, and Robespierre) and RWS's own thoughts on democracy. The fifth notebook begins with Greek philosophy, and later remarks on human consciousness, referential thinking and problems, and perceptual experience. The sixth notebook includes RWS's musings on topics of matter, materialism, American perception, causality, determinism, dialectical materialism, and Marxism. Also included in this notebook are references to his article, "In What Sense Is Valuation Objective in Import?" The seventh notebook addresses RWS's ideas about agential level of causality, double-knowledge, relative motion and Einstein.

Folder 2 Loose notes, undated
Folder 03-07 Notebooks, undated

Subseries 4. Manuscripts and Offprints, 1933-1973

Scope and Content Notes:

This subseries contains published and unpublished manuscripts, as well as offprints penned by Roy Wood Sellars. This material largely dates from the later part of his life. The manuscripts are arranged alphabetically by title. While the bulk of these files simply consist of manuscript drafts, several also include enclosures. Some files contain related articles ("Discussion on Frankena"), limited correspondence, and reviews or notes ( Lending a Hand to Hylas, and Reflections of American Philosophy from Within). Researchers may take particular interest in the Framework of Philosophy and Its Burden files, as they include an unpublished book by RWS that includes previously unpublished and revised articles on topics ranging from theories of value and relativity, perception, choice, emergence, religion, pragmatism, dialectical materialism, and social patterns. The full-length manuscripts are augmented by manuscript fragments that are arranged alphabetically by topic. In addition to the manuscripts, this section also contains offprints dating from 1938 to 1965. These offprints contain succinct dedications to his son, Wilfrid Sellars and are filed chronologically.

Folder 8 "Agential Causality and Free Will", 1973
Folder 9 "An Analysis of Relativity", undated
Folder 10 "An analytic Approach to the Mind-Body Problem", 1938
Folder 11 "Biographical Remarks", c. 1971
Folder 12 "Book notes and Comments", c. 1970
Folder 13 "Brain on Perception", c. 1972
Folder 14 "The Burden of Philosophy: Personal and Social Wisdom", undated
Folder 15 "Causality and Substance", 1943
Folder 16 "Comments on Weiss's Philosophy", c. 1970-1973
Folder 17 "A Conflation of Philosophical Positions", c. 1957-1973

Box 191
Folder 01-02 "A Continuing Dialogue", c. 1970
Folder 3 "Critical Realism", 1936, 1969
Folder 4 "A Critique of Cartesian Dualism", c. 1972
Folder 5 "Democracy Develops with Liberalism", undated
Folder 6 "Dewey on Materialism", 1943
Folder 7 "Dialectical Materialism and Evolutionary Materialism", undated
Folder 8 "Direct, Referential Realism", 1963
Folder 9 "Discussion of Frankena's Paper", undated
Folder 10 "Double-Knowledge and the Identity Theory", c. 1961-1973
Folder 11 "The Dynamic Base of Kinematics", undated
Folder 12 "Economics as a Social Science", undated
Folder 13 "Emergence and Causality", undated
Folder 14 "The Emphases of Humanism", undated
Folder 15 "The End of the Road: A Shift in Outlook and Framework", undated
Folder 16 "Final Reflections: Man in Nature", undated
Folder 17 A forward to Roy Wood Sellars1973
Folder 18 "Forty Years After: A Clarification of Outlook", 1970
Folder 19-20 Framework of Philosophy and Its Burden, 1972-1973

Box 192
Folder 01-04 Framework of Philosophy and Its Burden, 1972-1973
Folder 5 "Freedom and Determinism", undated
Folder 6 "From Absolute Motion to Relativity to a New Kind of Absolute Motion", c. 1948-1973
Folder 7 "The Growth of Naturalism", undated
Folder 8 "Guided Causality, Using Reason, and 'Free Will'", 1957
Folder 9 "The Humanist Outlook", c. 1965-1973
Folder 10 "Humanism, A Gradual Redirection of Interests and Life-Styles", undated
Folder 11 "The Implications of Humanism: Mankind's Continuing Dialogue", 1972
Folder 12 "In Defense of Metaphysical Veracity", 1960
Folder 13 "In What Sense Do Value Judgments and Moral Judgments Have Objective Import", 1967
Folder 14 Introduction to "The Evolution of Values", c. 1970
Folder 15 "Is Dialectical Materialism Merely Naturalism?", c. 1966-1973
Folder 16 Lending a Hand to Hylas, 1966

Box 193
Folder 01-03 Lending a Hand to Hylas, 1966-1970
Folder 4 "Levels of Causality and Intelligent Self-Direction", undated
Folder 5 "Levels of Causality, Choosing, and Decision", undated
Folder 6 "L' Hypothese De L' Emergence", 1933
Folder 7 "Looking Backward-and Somewhat Foreword", c. 1969-1973
Folder 8 "My Contemporaries in American Philosophy", c. 1966-1973
Folder 9 "My Philosophical Position: A Rejoinder", 1955
Folder 10 "National Socialism and Totalitarianism: Germany", undated
Folder 11 "Naturalistic Humanism and Paul Tillich", undated
Folder 12 "Naturalizing Human Knowing", 1973
Folder 13 "A Note on Relativity", undated
Folder 14 "A Note on the Semantics of the Theory of Relativity", 1973
Folder 15 "A Note on the Standing of American Philosophy", 1968
Folder 16 "The Objective Import of Perceiving and Some Implications", 1961, 1965
Folder 17 "The Objective Import of Valuing", undated
Folder 18 "Orientation in Contemporary Ontology", undated
Folder 19 "Panpsychism or Evolutionary Materialism", 1960
Folder 20 "The Perspective of Modern Materialism", 1949
Folder 21 "Philosophers I Have Met", 1968
Folder 22 "Philosophy and the Drama of Dramatic Religion: Confrontations", undated
Folder 23 "Philosophy and Science", undated
Folder 24 "The Philosophy of Society and Social Philosophy", undated
Folder 25 "A Possible Integration of Science and Philosophy", undated
Folder 26 "Postscript", c. 1971-1973
Folder 27 Principles and Problems of Philosophy, 1967
Folder 28 Principles of Emergent Realism, 1968

Box 194
Folder 01-04 Principles of Emergent Realism, 1968
Folder 5 "Querying Whitehead's Framework", 1959
Folder 6 "Realism", undated
Folder 7 "Realistic Empiricism and Revision of Categories", undated
Folder 8 "Realistic Framework with Supporting Theses", c. 1969-1973
Folder 09-10 Reflections on American Philosophy from Within, 1969
Folder 11 "Reform, Revolution and Development", c. 1966-1973
Folder 12 "Reformed Materialism and Intrinsic Endurance", 1944
Folder 13 "Relative Motion a Natural Artifact", 1960
Folder 14 "Remarks on Relative Motion and Absolute, Relational Motion", undated
Folder 15 "Remarks on Relativity", 1970
Folder 16 "Removing the Mystery from Relativity and the Expanding Universe", undated
Folder 17 "The Renewed Struggle for Realism: Thought, Language, and Knowledge", 1971
Folder 18 "Retrospective", 1973
Folder 19 "Santayana's Position", undated

Box 195
Folder 1 "The Search for Sanctions", undated
Folder 2 "Semantics of Relativity", 1973
Folder 3 "The Semantics of Relativity: The Epistemology of Abstraction", c. 1970-1973
Folder 4 "The Semantics of the Theory of Relativity", c. 1970-1973
Folder 5 "Shifts in Outlook and Framework", undated
Folder 6 "Simplifying Philosophy", c. 1970-1973
Folder 07-09 Social Patterns and Political Horizons, 1966
Folder 10 "Some Questions and Suggestions", c. 1966-1973
Folder 11 "Some Remarks on My Philosophical Career", 1970
Folder 12 "Some Theses with Respect to Relativity", 1970
Folder 13 "A Statement of Critical Realism", 1939
Folder 14 "Strategic Thinkers of the Present: Whitehead and Santayana", undated
Folder 15 "Suggested Outlook", 1972
Folder 16 "Technical Specialization and Comprehensiveness in Philosophy", undated
Folder 17 "Terminal", 1973
Folder 18 "The Texture of the New Ontology: Finding a Place for Life and Values", c. 1966-1973
Folder 19 "Time in Frames, Time Between the Frames, and the Behavior of Light", undated
Folder 20 "'True' as Contextually Implying Correspondence", 1959
Folder 21 "Truth as the Achievement of Knowledge", 1958-1959
Folder 22 "Two Naturalistic Theories of Sense Perception", undated
Folder 23 "Two Semantic Blunders of Einstein", undated
Folder 24 "Undermining the Foundations", undated
Folder 25 "Valuing has Objective Import After Its Own Kind", undated

Section: Fragments

Folder 26 Critical realism, undated
Folder 27 Double knowledge approach, undated
Folder 28 Miscellaneous topics, undated

Box 196
Folder 1 Religion and society, undated
Folder 2 Socialism and other political systems, undated
Folder 3 Social philosophy, undated
Folder 4 Values, morals, ethics, undated

This subseries includes manuscripts that were written by other philosophers and sent to Roy Wood Sellars for various reasons. The manuscripts are arranged alphabetically by author and known dates are supplied. A few of these manuscripts were given as compliments to RWS, since the authors discuss his work. Additional manuscripts were submitted to RWS for comment. Other authors sent RWS their manuscripts simply because they felt the subject matter might have interested RWS.

Folder 5 Campbell, Donald,"Pattern Matching as an Essential in Distal Knowing", 1964-1965
Folder 6 Delaney, C. F.,"Recent Work on American Philosophy", 1971
Folder 7 Hofstadter, Albert,"Aspects of Human Equality", 1955
Folder 8 Kaufmann, Walter,"Kierkegaard: A Preliminary Expectoration", undated
Folder 9 Kovaly?, Paul,"The Philosophy of American Realism", c. 1968-1973
Folder 10 Lorenz, Konrad,"Kant's Doctrine of the A Priori in Light of Contemporary Biology", 1962
Folder 11 Melchert, Norman Paul,"Realism, Materialism, and the Mind: The Philosophy of Roy Wood Sellars", 1968
Folder 12 Reck, Andrew,"The Realism of Roy Wood Sellars", 1970

Section: Sellars, Wilfrid

Folder 13 "this I or he or it (or thing) which thinks", 1970
Folder 14 "Notes on Anselm's Ontological Argument", undated
Folder 15 Skyrns, Brian,"The Explication of 'X Knows that P'", undated

Section: Warren, Preston

Folder 16 "Crossing the Philosophical Divides", 1971
Folder 17 Roy Wood Sellars, 1972

Section: Unknown or multiple authors

Folder 18 The New Scholasticism, Roy Wood Sellars issue, 1971
Folder 19 Project proposal for the program and its import, c. 1959-1973